Aimed at connecting the therapeutic side and creative impetus of art making and the creative backbone of entrepreneurship, we began a weekly youth center entrepreneurship training program in 2011. The site of these education efforts is a model farm facility called our Center for Sustainability, the perfect environment for learning, mentorship and inspiration.
On this fifteen- acre farm, war-affected youth once displaced from their homes and agrarian way of life, are afforded opportunities to learn about relevant business through participatory learning. Our fifty-person solar powered wifi-equipped classroom makes theory-to-practice learning easy as youth can go from the classroom to our various enterprises including dairy, crop production, energy conservation (biogas), plant nursery and animal husbandry (goats and pigs). The learning model is participatory and place-based and enables the children to become familiar with best practices in farming and our signpost narrative that they lead tours in English and Luo for the broader community.
People come from various regions in Uganda to see our “exotic” breeds of goats (Boer and Saanan) and pigs (Cambrough and Large White) and witness cooking from manure with biogas, or, as we often call it, “entremanureship.” We currently have sixty goats, thirty pigs, twenty-five chickens and nine dairy cows. Targeting the families of the children we serve and local institutions (schools, churches, etc.), we loan goats to the local community to help improve their goat breed and livelihood. We loan our Holstein Fresian cross bull to the community to increase their breed and milk production.
Working with the local Gulu University Faculty of Agriculture, we help training undergraduate interns and enable them opportunities to put theory into practice on our farm. Growing interest has led to an international internship program and recent volunteers from the U.S. and Costa Rica.